The Fresh Loaf

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High Hydration Loaf Loses Shape on Baking Stone

CarolinesChef1477's picture

High Hydration Loaf Loses Shape on Baking Stone

Hi all.

This is my first post on TFL although I have admired the wisdom of many posters from a far for some time now. I started baking sourdough almost 9 months ago. I am consistently making a strong, basic sourdough loaf in my dutch oven. I am also making good baguettes and flatbreads.

Several weeks back I became a patron of the Philadelphia-based artisan bakery called EEVA. Well, their sourdough loaf blew me away. I have become obsessed with replicating their sourdough bread. I purchased a baking stone because it was more cost effective than the Challenger bread baking pan. I also purchased oval-shaped bannetons.

After overnight fermentation I did my normal pre-shape folds, shaped the loaves, and placed the loaves in the banneton. The loaves did not get much time in the refrigerator, but upon placing the loaves onto the sheet for scoring and pre-bake water sprays, the loaf began to run and lose its shape quickly. I decided to bake the loaves anyway even though they lost shape steadily. Predictably, the loaves turned out to be long and relatively flat. They lost the oval shape almost entirely.

How can I get my loaves to keep the oval shape while baking on a baking stone? Any advice is much appreciated. 

idaveindy's picture

Welcome to TFL.

We just had a lengthy discussion on exactly your topic. I believe all the bases were covered.

DanAyo's picture

Caroline, have you successfully baked this bread yet?

Please post the formula. Images are always helpful.

CarolinesChef1477's picture

Thanks For the reply!

Having some trouble uploading images at the moment.


  1. 470g bread flour

50g rye flour (sometimes substituted for whole wheat or AP)

400g water

10g salt

100g starter

Benito's picture

If your starter is 100% hydration then the hydration of the dough is 79%.  Not knowing your flours well that might be too high especially if you're in NA since it is summer and likely humid where you live.  You might want to first try lowering the hydration, even just a couple of percent say to 76% or so.  During the winter I can get a great loaf at 80% hydration but then now I've had to lower it to 76% otherwise it spreads too much.

It would be helpful to hear more details of your overall process, temperatures and timings.